Music students jazzed up about playing with provincial honour bands this weekend

While the Manitoba Band Association (MBA) provincial honour band program is sometimes short on northern representation, this year’s intermediate and junior concerts will feature five Thompson band students.

The Thompsonites picked for the junior honour band (for students up to Grade 8) said they were both excited and terrified at the prospect travelling down to Winnipeg this weekend to play with some of the best student musicians in the province.

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For Grade 8 students Abi Deibert (bass clarinet), Danica Ryan (trumpet), Emma Fitzpatrick (flute) and Nicole Cruda (percussion) one of the biggest concerns going into this concert is only having a short amount of time to gel with their new bandmates.

“The pieces they get would normally take an ensemble months to learn,” said music teacher Stevie MacPherson, who helped these students put together their audition tapes for the program. “These guys are expected to do that in a few days when they’re at honour band.”

This kind of pressure goes double for Grade 9 student Madyson Caldwell. Outside of being the only northern musician accepted into this year’s MBA intermediate honour band (for Grade 9 and 10 students), she’s also the only one who is going to be playing the bass clarinet.

However, Caldwell finds comfort in the fact that she at least has experience on her side, having already participated in the junior honour band the previous year.

“It was a really good experience, because I came back and I could just play my instrument way better. I had a way better tone,” she said. “It was amazing to hear the top people in the province playing.”

MacPherson advised these students to just have fun, embrace the experience and start making connections throughout the weekend, especially if they are serious about pursuing a music career in the future.

“Make friends with all the kids from Winnipeg and Brandon and the surrounding areas. Get to know your conductors,” she said.  “The music community in Manitoba is really quite small and close-knit and you’ll start seeing the same people at all these events as you get older.”

This year’s MBA junior and intermediate provincial honour bands will be performing at Garden City Collegiate in Winnipeg May 5 at 7:30 p.m.

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